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African Americans and the Coronavirus: Would you get Vaccinated?

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African Americans and the Coronavirus: Would you get Vaccinated?

As we are all aware, the number of coronavirus victims continues to grow in the United States. According to nytimes.com the US has had a total of 357,036 cases and 10,522 deaths as of April 5th. The death toll in America has exceeded the amount of people who died from Covid-19 in China, where the virus originated. 

According to a graph on the New York Times site, Illinois comes in at number 9 for the states with the most cases. Chicago has been reported to have over 5,000 identified cases in Cook County and over 13,000 in Illinois together according to chicago.gov.

 We have recently found out that in Chicago blacks make up most of COVID-19 deaths; of the 183 coronavirus deaths in Cook County, 107 of them were black, according to WBEZ. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, states “So if you know those disparities exist in terms of health outcomes, you can imagine that overlaying a new disease is only going to exacerbate whatever inequities already exist.” National numbers haven’t been released for a racial breakdown of the outbreak. 


chicago.gov

chicago.gov


chicago.gov

chicago.gov

With the fact that this virus has taken a hit on blacks disproportionately, I don’t see our community seeking a vaccination when one is developed. 

There has always been a negative stigma when it comes to immunizations in the black community. Many have the belief that vaccines result in things such as autism in black youth, specifically black boys. According to a 2015 study done by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, African Americans report lower trust than Whites related to influenza and flu immunizations. 

Though it may seem ridiculous, there are valid reasons the black community has its trust issues when it comes to the healthcare system. The quality of care compared to that of whites is lower, the health outcomes are much worse, and racial bias exists in the medical field. According to a 2019 New York Times article, “There is still a long way to go in how the medical field treats minority patients, especially African-Americans.”

As a black person growing up in the system of white supremacy, you get used to all of the systemic things this country does to keep your people on the bottom. Our community has warranted trust issues with the government, law enforcement, and yes, the healthcare system. Though there have been countless PSAs and studies that show there is no link between vaccines and autism, the black community still has its doubts on how the healthcare system has negatively affected us.

Take example the infamous United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study, in which treatment was withheld from 400 black men in Alabama in order to see how the disease would progress. The history of crude medical experiments on our enslaved ancestors carried its way through Jim Crow and has led to the attitudes we possess now about the medical field.

With the coronavirus showing no signs of slowing down soon, vaccines are currently being tested to find a cure. Do you see yourself getting vaccinated?

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